cutting back peonies?

Hi everyone,
In Chicago, the peonies looked great this year due to a long wet spring. Mine bloom, then I generally cut the foliage down about halfway to highlight other perennials in my little garden patch. Anyone cut them down all the way in late summer? I'd like to give the mums and black-eyed susans better light sooner. Suggestions?
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On 19 Jul 2006 15:49:52 -0700, "Merle O'Broham"

Severely pruning peonies back will effect next year's bloom. It needs the green leaves to make food, then stores the energy in the roots over winter.
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Here in Alaska, in Zone 2, 3, 4, we prune peonies back to the ground in the fall and mulch the crap out of them.
Jan
--
The way to a man's heart is between the fourth and the fifth rib.

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Merle O'Broham wrote:

In your area it is too early to cut them back if you want to have have a "full amount" of blooms next spring (you should wait until fall to cut them back). Also, cutting them back half way is just as bad as cutting them back all the way. The leaves make the food and you need to keep all the leaves you can to make the food. If you want to take a chance you can cut SOME stocks all the way back.
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Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Gardening for over 40 years
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Bill R wrote:

Hmmm... I know that the plants need the leaves to feed the bulbs for next year's blooms, that's why I was cutting only halfway and leaving the half for the entire season. But, they've been blooming nicely in the spring. I was wondering what an acceptable time was to trim down further. I see we're in close to the same zones. I've been cutting back halfway for the past 2 years with great blooms, so I guess I'll experiment a bit. They'll be turning yellow then brown through September and October, so I don't want to cut them to nothing just yet.
Thanks
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